Posted in Good Food, How To, Recipe

Glorious Butternut Quiche

In know there are millions of Butternut Quiche recipes out there and that you will want to know what makes mine special? Short answer is nothing, except that I have tried and tested mine a hundred times over and over and it is every time a huge success – it is fail (and fool) proof for those who are not that efficient in the kitchen. Making my own short crust pastry is highly satisfying and the love and attention that goes into making this quiche is most probably what makes it special for me and my family.

Whenever I am swamped with work – catering jobs and markets – I make a quiche or two that I stuck in the refrigerator and my family can cut slices off as they want to for either breakfast, lunch or dinner! It usually don’t last that long so I make two or three different ones, but decided to feature my butternut quiche as it is the most popular in my household. I like to serve it with a balsamic reduction and some pan-seared rosa tomatoes as in the picture. Another hint from my side don’t skimp on the butternut and Danish feta, I hate it when you order a Butternut quiche and you have to send out a search party for the butternut and feta! I make mine in a 26cm pastry pan, it is a large quiche and you will get at least 10 good slices out of it, depending on how hungry or greedy certain members of your family are. I also know that a quiche is made with loads of cream, but this is a healthier version made with low-fat milk – it taste just as good!

For the Pastry:

  • 300g All purpose flour
  • 140g Soft but cold unsalted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 5ml Salt
  • A glass of ice water
  • A bowl of ice water

For the Quiche:

  • 350g Butternut – large dices
  • 250g Danish Feta (or more)
  • 1 Large Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 5ml Caraway seeds
  • 40ml Olive Oil
  • 3ml Coarse black pepper
  • 4-6 Sprigs of fresh rosemary – finely shopped
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 375ml Milk

Method:

For the Pastry: Place the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl. Next to it have a bowl of ice water as well. My hands are very warm so I like to cool them down occasionally in the water when I do this. Combined the flour and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Now add the egg and about a tablespoon of cold water and start to combine everything with a pastry knife or your hands, adding more water as you go on. I find that about three tablespoons of water will always do the trick, more than that and the pastry becomes dough-like. Don’t over work the pastry as you will develop the gluten too much, resulting in a difficult pastry to work with. Once combined, wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, I like to rest mine for 24-hours. Once rested, roll out to a thickness of 3-4mm, place in your pan and blind bake for 15 minutes at 170°C. Remember to prick the base with a fork!

For the Butternut filling: Once the pastry case is baked and ready, bake the diced butternut and garlic in a 180°C oven for about 20-25 minutes – it must be soft but still very firm if you stick a knife in it. Once baked and cooled, break the Danish feta into large chunks, peel and chop the baked garlic and add the rest of the ingredient except the eggs and milk. Mix all the ingredients together now and fill your pastry case.

The custard: Whisk together the milk and eggs and pour it over the butternut mix in your pastry until it is about 5mm under the edge of your pastry. Bake in the oven at 180°C for about 40-45 minutes and serve immediately or allow to cool, cover and store in the fridge.

Other favourite combinations are: Brie, Biltong and Sundried Tomato or try Fennel, Smoked Haddock and Edam and another popular one in my house is the Smoked Chicken, Basil Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella quiche! The combinations are endless and you can be as creative as you like to be!

Posted in Good Food, Recipe

Spring Lamb Salad

Here is a little secret for you about South Africans – we love summer, sun and good food & wine! I mean we basically have summer eight months of the year and even when it is winter we have sunny skies, perhaps a bit cold sometimes, like this week, a cold front from the Cape is approaching, but still sunny and open blue skies! And when I read my fellow food blogger Conor Bofin’s post this morning about how foul his mood is due to the grey skies in Ireland, I thought why not bring my publishing date forward of this lovely summer salad, in sympathy, Conor and just to say mate, hang in there, I feel your pain.

To celebrate the arrival of warmer weather, longer days, plenty of sunshine and just an overall zest for life I have been experimenting with this delectable little salad for some time now and would like to share it with you. Most of the components can be made in advance and you just assemble once the lamb comes of the coals. For this recipe I have used rump of lamb, most of you will know it by its older and traditional name which is chump. This recipe gives you 6 substantial salads which can be served as a main course.

You’ll need:

For the Radish Raita:

  • 10-12 Large Radishes – finely grated
  • 100 – 150ml Double Greek Yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 20ml Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of garlic – crushed
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

For the Salad:

  • 1 pack or about 200g Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 pack or about 100g Fresh watercress
  • A mix of garden herbs such as thyme, basil and marjoram
  • 2 medium purple onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
  • 4-5 Rounds of a good and firm feta – diced
  • 20ml Olive Oil

For the Dressing:

  • 60ml Olive Oil
  • 20ml Sesame Oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp Wholegrain Dijon

Method:

For the Meat: Rub your meat with the olive oil, season it well with some salt and then rub the Baharat Spice mix into it. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, braai (bbq) it over hot coals until meat is done according to your taste – I like mine to be still pink on the inside, that is about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once done, set aside and allow the meat to rest while you do the rest of the preparations.

For the Radish Raita: Wash and finely grate the radishes in a bowl. Remember to squeeze the water out of the radishes once grated. Then mix the grated radishes with all the other ingredients and set aside. If you don’t squeeze the water out, it will be runny and watery.

For the Salad: Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients for the dressing in a bottle. Shake the bottle violently so that it emulsify – releasing all pent-up anger about bad weather! Pour over the leaf and herb mix in a large bowl and set aside. Dice the feta cheese and mix it with the lemon juice, some fresh thyme and all the garlic, heat the oil in a large pan and pan-fry the feta until they are golden and crisp.

To Assemble:

  • Slice the lamb into bite size pieces. Reserve the board juices.
  • Place a good handful of the dressed leaves on a plate.
  • Arrange some of the meat to one side and top it with a good dollop of the radish raita.
  • Sprinkle some of the feta and sliced purple onions around the plate.
  • Drizzle some of the board juices of the cut meat over the salad as well, it adds flavour and depth.
  • Serve with a glass of Cabernet Franc and some crusty breads to soak up all those lovely juices and dressings.

Enjoy and celebrate summer wherever you are if you make this!